All smokers have choices. Some are hard choices, like quitting. Some are no brainers,
like not blowing smoke in the face of a baby, or lighting up at a table where others
As a long time smoker, I have exercised choice. I have chosen, of my own free will,
to allocate a portion of my budget to purchasing cigarettes. And despite increasing
social pressure, I feel no guilt for not taking that money and buying instead something
more socially acceptable like, say, carbon credits or using it to contributing to
some UN fund to cure poverty. Color me selfish.
My choice is called free will. Everyone has it. Only for smokers, it's not so free
anymore. The self righteous arbiters of America's morals have decided to take away
this choice. And they're succeeding in the court of law, the court of public opinion,
and society at large.
Two cities in California are now considering unprecedented legislation that would
ban smoking inside apartments and condos. We're talking private property and the
right to legislate what goes on behind closed doors, in your own, private home.
The City of Belmont, CA won initial approval last week to ban smoking in your home,
if you live in an apartment or condo. The measure could trigger fines and actual
eviction. The same measure is being considered in the city of Calabasas.
In Bangor, Maine, a city councilman, oops, coulcilperson, Patricia Blanchette
has submitted preliminary legislation to make Maine one of the first states to make
it illegal to smoke in any vehicle when minors are present. This legislation comes
with the false presumption that all smokers are so rude, low-class and lacking in
manners that the force of law is necessary to protect innocents from dread second-hand
Speaking of second-hand smoke: Contrary to a deliberately fostered phony 'consensus'
(consensus being the new rule of law according to liberals), there is no science
proving second-hand smoke causes death or illness. This premise, like so many other
premises fostered by the smoke nazis, is just not true.
Surgeon General Richard Carmona has said, "The debate is over. The science is clear:
Second-hand smoke is not a mere annoyance, but a serious health hazard,"
Case closed. (Sound familiar?)
It turns out that the EPA report on which our august Surgeon General based his claim
was thoroughly bogus. Federal Judge Richard Osteen threw out the EPA's landmark
1993 risk assessment linking second-hand smoke to cancer, saying, "The EPA's findings
were based on insufficiently rigorous statistical tests and are therefore invalid.."
Something our Surgeon General conveniently failed to note. Proving true the saying
about liberals, "It's not so much what they don't know that's dangerous, but that
so much of what they do know just ain't so."
Junk science is but one arrow in the quiver of the self-righteous nannies who have
declared war on smokers. Another favorite tactic is tying a cause to 'For The Children.' This slogan
was used to great effect in California when Rob Reiner (Meathead to all of you All In The Family fans) was successful in tacking on a $1.00 tax on a pack of cigarettes.
Monies were to go to stop smoking programs, educating 'the children', yada yada
yada. Turns out most of the monies collected went to filling in potholes. (Which
turned out to be a good thing, as right about then I started driving down to Tijuana
to buy my cigarettes.)
Another extremely effective tactic in the war on smokers is shame. The unwritten caveat is that 'shame'
is to be used only against those selfish morons who still smoke. In the unwritten
book of rules governing behavior in our society, it is verboten to use shame where
it might actually make a difference, say, by shaming bad behavior instead of lionizing
it. By shaming, say, out of wedlock births, or deviant sexual practices. No, that
would be too judgmental. (Called, having an opinion, for those of us who aren't
versed in liberalspeak) Shame is used only and exclusively for the sin of smoking.
As Thomas Sowell has pointed out, all choices involve trade-offs. I fully
understand that the future man of my dreams may find kissing me akin to licking
an ashtray and decide to pass. His choice. My trade off. For now, it is still my
choice to make. But if this current trend continues, that choice will be made for
me by faceless bureaucrats and fading politicians looking to polish their moral
vitaes by manufacturing phony outrage and even phonier studies in a quest for relevance,
power and their fleeting 15 minutes. Scary stuff.
Nancy Morgan is a columnist and senior news editor
She lives in South Carolina